Indian diamond tycoon Nirav Modi: From billionaire jeweller to arrest

BJP is bringing Nirav Modi back because of upcoming Lok Sabha elections,’ claims Congress

Modi, who fled India past year and found safe harbor in London, is wanted by Indian authorities over an alleged scam against Punjab National Bank (PNB), in which the defendant used fraudulent paperwork to obtain buyer's credit for £2bn ($2.6bn).

The diamond magnate was arrested in the Holborn area of central London on Tuesday after he went into a bank to open an account and a member of staff contacted police.

Modi's world began unraveling in February of past year, when India's Central Bureau of Investigation registered a First Information Report (FIR) against him, alleging he defrauded state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of some $2 billion by using phony letters of undertaking.

Later, he was produced before the Westminster Magistrates' Court Wednesday, where he contested his extradition to India and Modi's team made their case for bail, offering 500,000 pounds as security and an offer to adhere to "stringent" conditions.

A special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Mumbai on Wednesday granted permission to the Income Tax Department (I-T) to auction the paintings and cars of Nirav Modi, the fugitive businessman whom the Scotland Yard arrested on Tuesday afternoon (local time) in London.

Modi, a stubby man with a moustache and thin hair, was seen responding with a straight face in a video posted on Twitter by London's Telegraph newspaper earlier this month.

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However, the Crown Prosecution Service - making representations on behalf of India as it did with the Vijay Mallya extradition - objected to the request for bail, pointing to "substantial grounds" to believe that he would fail to surrender. Nirav Modi was arrested after the Enforcement Directorate's extradition plea.

The Crown Prosecution Service, representing the government of India, then charged Modi with conspiracy to commit fraud and to hide criminal property.

Modi, who denies wrongdoing, left India before the details of the fraud became public.

During some of his stay in London he was reportedly also living in the heart of the city above his jewellery boutique called "Nirav Modi" on Old Bond Street, which has since closed down.

Modi denies the allegations and has sought political asylum in the UK.

The legal process to extradite Nirav will be identical to that pursued in the case of Mallya - a court hearing followed by appeals. Mallya is now appealing the decision.

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